Revisiting Goals: Adjusting for Changing Circumstances

by | Aug 17, 2023

Revisiting Goals: Adjusting for Changing Circumstances

Goal-setting is a fundamental process for individuals striving to achieve personal and professional success. However, the journey towards accomplishing these objectives is rarely straightforward. Life is replete with unforeseen events and evolving circumstances that may necessitate adjustments to our targets. In this mini-post, we explore the imperative of flexibility in goal revision, provide illustrative examples of life events requiring adjustments, and underscore the significance of sensitivity and empathy in the process of target revision.

The Flexibility of Goal Adjustment

In the pursuit of one’s ambitions, it is crucial to recognise that the path to success is seldom linear. Life is dynamic, and circumstances may fluctuate due to numerous factors, such as health, financial status, relationships, and external societal changes. As such, rigidly adhering to initially set goals can be counterproductive and lead to frustration. To maintain progress and resilience, individuals must embrace the necessity of goal adjustment as a natural and adaptive response to changing situations.

Life Events and Situational Changes Requiring Target Adjustments

1. Health-related challenges:

A sudden health crisis, be it personal or within one’s family, can significantly impact an individual’s capacity to pursue certain goals. For example, an aspiring athlete may need to adjust their training and competition targets due to an injury, requiring a shift in their focus and priorities.

2. Financial setbacks:

Economic downturns or personal financial hardships can impede the pursuit of certain objectives. An individual aiming to start a business may need to revise their timeline or initial investment plans when facing financial constraints.

3. Career transitions:

Changes in employment, whether voluntary or involuntary, can necessitate alterations to long-term career goals. For instance, a professional changing industries may need to adjust their skill development goals to align with the requirements of their new field.

4. Relationship changes:

Major life events, such as marriage, divorce, or the birth of a child, can prompt individuals to reconsider their personal goals and make appropriate revisions. Balancing family responsibilities with career aspirations often requires goal adjustments to ensure harmony.

The Importance of Sensitivity and Empathy During Target Revision

Goal revision can be emotionally challenging, as it may involve letting go of cherished ambitions or redefining one’s sense of self. During this process, it is crucial for individuals to practice self-compassion and demonstrate empathy towards themselves. Self-criticism and harsh judgments are counterproductive and can hinder the adaptive response needed to navigate changing circumstances successfully.
Furthermore, interpersonal relationships must also be approached with sensitivity during times of goal adjustment. Employing empathy when communicating changes to loved ones or colleagues can foster understanding and garner support. It is essential to acknowledge the impact of these revisions on others and involve them in the decision-making process when appropriate.


In conclusion, the ability to adjust goals in response to changing circumstances is a vital skill in the pursuit of personal and professional growth. Life events and situational changes can necessitate adaptations to our objectives, and rigidity in goal-setting may hinder progress. Embracing flexibility, coupled with sensitivity and empathy towards ourselves and others, empowers us to navigate life’s uncertainties and continue our journey towards success and fulfilment. By recognising the inevitability of change and adapting our goals accordingly, we can forge a resilient and purposeful path through life’s ever-evolving landscape.

“Recognising the importance of flexibility in goal revision, we learn to adapt to life’s changing circumstances, demonstrating empathy and resilience on the path to personal and professional growth.”

Target Setting for SEN
Abigail Hawkins FCCT

Abigail Hawkins FCCT

Director of SENDCO Solutions

Abigail Hawkins was a SENCO for over 25 years and has worked with pupils with all types of needs.  Abigail has worked with Ed-Tech companies on developing their software and also been chair of governors for a multi-academy trust. Abigail now runs SENsible SENCO and SENDCO Solutions, with the aim of working with SENCOs and inclusion leaders across the UK to improve their support for SEND pupils. See our school services for more information.

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